Last Saturday, Stephan was promoted to blue belt.
Stephan didn't start training with us, he started his BJJ Journey at another academy in Zürich. Changing academies when you have been training for a while is never easy, especially if you have been training for a while at your original place.
Some academies are very strict, force you to wear their gi, their patches and their nogi gear. Some don't allow you to train at other places. Some even charge you for putting a piece of tape on your belt. Stephan's first academy was like that.
If you change from a place like that to the BJJ Lab, you will probably experience a slight culture shock. At the Lab we are very relaxed about such things. Many people still train in the gi from their original academy (some remove the patches, others don't - we don't care). Quite a few of our members cross-train regulalry with people from other gyms. We host an open mat on Sunday where we get visitors from many other Zürich academies.
Cross-training between academies makes all parties involved better. If an academy chooses not to participate, they put themselves at a disadvantage.
If you train at a close-minded place like that, you might want to reconsider your choice. Why is your coach so afraid of you training somewhere else? Why is he forcing you to wear their gi? Is he worried about your progress, or is he just worried about growing his bottom line and squeezing you for every last franc?
Stephan took a big step when he changed academies. He had to make new friends and learn our fundamentals curriculum. Not even a year has passed and he is now an important part of our team, helping out the other students and making the lab a very welcoming and friendly place.